The opening of passenger rail transport to competition proceeds with corporate reorganisation
The Government has been preparing the opening of passenger rail transport to competition. The Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR Group have on 4 June 2018 reached a decision regarding how to proceed in the opening of passenger rail transport to competition.
In practise, opening the competition means that VR’s exclusive right to the provision of rail transport services in the Finnish rail network will be dismantled in the next decade, allowing other operators to enter the Finnish passenger rail transport market.
Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner is pleased to announce that the next stages have now been agreed upon with VR.
“It is significant that the preparation proceeds and that we are now able to confirm the schedule of the proceeding of the competition to all operators with potential interest in the Finnish railway transport. I would like to thank all those who have partaken in this work already at this stage of the process,“ says Minister Berner.
“There is still plenty to do with the preparation of the tendering documents and in ensuring the safety of the multi-operator environment,“ Minister Berner continues.
The Government’s Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy made the decision regarding the opening of passenger rail transport to competition on 10 April 2017. The opening of competition has proceeded in accordance with the decision and within the agreed schedule.
The reform aims at better services to rail transport passengers and benefits for the entire society. The development of rail transport is also necessary in order to achieve the set emission reduction objectives.
Competition to open with Southern Finland regional rail services
As agreed in the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy, the opening of passenger rail transport to competition will be started from the local rail services in Southern Finland, with the aim of achieving a concession contract. The experiences gained from the tendering model for regional rail services of Southern Finland will be utilised in the model for opening the rest of the passenger rail transport for competition.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR are working together in order to implement the corporate reorganisation required for the opening for competition. The objective is to have the tendering process completed and services running in June 2022.
VR shall disclose to the Ministry of Transport and Communications all the information required for organising the tendering process, such as information related to the volume, rolling stock or staff of the railroad traffic services.
The rolling stock and real estate companies under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the maintenance company under VR Group
VR and the Ministry of Transport and Communications will establish a rolling stock company and a real estate company as special assignment companies, the state ownership steering of which is the responsibility of the Ministry. The objective is to have the companies fully operational by 31 December 2018 at the latest.
All Sm2 and Sm4 trains operating in the regional rail services in Southern Finland, as well as any spare parts of the rolling stock and separately defined special tools, will be transferred to the rolling stock company. In addition, the rolling stock company shall start the preparation for the procurement of the new regional service rolling stock.
The property necessary for the regional rail services in Southern Finland will be transferred to the real estate company: the buildings owned by VR in the Helsinki depot area and the stationary equipment within the buildings, as well as the station buildings owned by the VR Group within the traffic area of the regional rail services in Southern Finland as parcels of land. VR is running a notable property development project in the Helsinki railway station area, the ownership of which VR shall relinquish on market terms.
VR shall corporatise the maintenance operations of its entire rolling stock into a separate maintenance company within the VR Group. The required maintenance staff will be transferred into the maintenance company, along with the spare parts, machines and equipment needed for the maintenance of the rolling stock. VR shall develop the maintenance company operatively and commercially into an independent company and relinquish the ownership of the company on market terms prior to starting the traffic services under tendering.
Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications
Requests for interviews: Susanna Niinivaara, Communications Director, tel. +358 40 081 6187